Lisa Smirnova ’18, representing Switzerland in a simulation of UN Women at the 2018 Geneva International Model UN conference in Switzerland.

Participation in the 2018 Geneva International Model UN (GIMUN) conference in Switzerland gave me a wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in the world of international work. The conference that was held in the Palais des Nation, home to the UN Office in Geneva, providing me with valuable insight into the world of diplomacy.

At first, the bilingual conference (held simultaneously in French and English) could be a challenge; yet, trying to communicate with the delegates through the team of interpreters and translators became one of my best experiences because it showed a true nature of the international setting.  I have learned to negotiate complex issues and draft a comprehensive resolution with the delegates who only spoke French.

I value my Model UN experience because the intense conference helped me build resilience and the ability to work under stress. Challenges during negotiations with the other delegates made my interpersonal communication skills and conflict management skills stronger, which significantly added to my personal growth.

I met many highly-experienced UN and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers who helped me understand the real work of the international organizations. By being exposed to the international world, I became more confident in pursuing my goal to work in the international human rights organizations. Model UN class shaped my negotiation and advocacy skills that are highly needed in my career choice. I am very grateful for my experience in Geneva.

-Elizaveta “Lisa” Smirnova ’18, Political Science and Peace and Justice Studies double major